Constitutional strains

24 June 2015

Despite the agreement on legislative faculties, relations between the executive and Congress remain strained. The day before the agreement was passed, Congress had upheld a measure to make twice-yearly bonus payments (known as ‘aguinaldos’) tax deductable. The Congress thus ignored warnings from the minister of economy and finance that this move had grave implications for the country’s public accounts and its social security system.

Nevertheless, the likelihood of an outright constitutional clash between the executive and legislature before 28 July has diminished considerably. After 28 July, the Congress can censure as many cabinets as it chooses without the possibility of the president exercising his constitutional prerogative of dissolving Congress and calling new legislative elections. Article 134 of the 1993 constitution prohibits a president from dissolving Congress in the last year of his (or her) term in office.

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